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Born in Pittsburgh, Kathleen Tessaro studied drama before emigrating to London. After ten years working as an actress in films, television, and theatre, she left the profession and spent several years working for the English National Opera, while training in the evenings as a drama teacher and voice coach. During this time, she began to write. Working on short stories during her lunch hour, she soon became a regular member of a writers workshop.
Praise for The Perfume Collector: `This evocative novel spins you back a few decades to the grace and elegance of the `20s and `50s' GLAMOUR `A mesmerising novel of passion and scent' - WOMAN AND HOME `The joy in Tessaro's books, however, is her knack for describing glamour. She leaves readers greedy for satin and lace, for angular cocktail dresses and complex scents spilling from beautiful bottles. It's a voluptuous and desirable world to drop into, but her characters have enough depth and moral ambiguity to lift this above most' EMERALD STREET Praise for The Debutante: 'It's an elegant and glamorous plot ...which means lots of mouth-watering descriptions of decaying stately homes by the sea' Daily Mail `The latest from the author of bestseller Elegance. New Yorker Cate immerses herself in the mystery of the Mitford-esque 1920's London debutante' Red `A shoebox filled with mementoes sets artist Cate on a hunt for the truth behind the disappearance of a dazzling 1920's `it' girl in Kathleen Tessaro's The Debutante' Good Housekeeping `Tessaro gets her story-weaving wand out with a gloriously rich story of past and present love' InStyle `Reading The Debutante was the most delicious treat. Engrossing, romantic, wise and witty - the perfect read. I could not put it down' Gillian Greenwood, author of Satisfaction and The Ghost Lover
Tessaro (Innocence) dazzles the senses in this novel about a reluctant British socialite who receives a mysterious inheritance from an unknown Frenchwoman in 1950s Europe. Tessaro's flashback-layered narrative concerns the mildly cliched Grace Munroe, a London housewife yearning for a sense of purpose, and Eva d'Orsey, an older Frenchwoman "living between memory and regret." After Eva dies, Grace is surprised to receive a letter naming her as chief beneficiary. Upon arriving in Paris she meets Edouard Tissot, Eva's lawyer and, predictably, a potential love interest. Searching for her connection to Eva, Grace discovers a derelict perfume shop staffed by Russian-born master perfumer Madame Zed, who weaves a preachy morality tale about the downfall of young orphaned Eva in New York City a quarter-century before. As Eva's history surfaces, Grace finds the value in her inheritance and the price Eva paid to bestow it. Predictably, Tessaro cycles between narratives, but brings the cities to life, from the "dreamy, shifting blues and dusky greens" of a London "Turner watercolour" morning to the "glowing softness" of Paris. Nuanced observations soften the blow of the contrived banter, familiar form, and one particularly overindulgent shopping-day passage. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Englishwoman Grace Monroe travels to Paris in search of answers as well as escape from her unhappy marriage after receiving a bequest from the mysterious Eva d'Orsey, a woman she has never heard of. The novel's chapters alternate between Grace's Paris sojourn in 1955 and Eva's story, which begins with a job in a New York City hotel in 1927, at the age of 14. Tessaro (The Debutante) has written an entertaining novel with two protagonists readers will care about, and if the answer to why Eva has left her fortune to Grace is fairly obvious early on, it doesn't matter. VERDICT A compelling plot in a truly magical Parisian setting, fascinating information about the way perfume is made, and great secondary characters make this a charming read. Tessaro does a marvelous job of conveying the atmosphere of a fairytale trip to 1950s Paris by a woman who finds herself, and romance, in the City of Light. Readers of the works of Emily Giffin and Laura Florand will enjoy.--Elizabeth -Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.